In 2012 one of the largest solar facilities to supply hot water anywhere in the world started operation in Riyadh. The facility was implemented by Millennium Energy Industries (MEI), a plant supplier based in Jordan and specializing in renewables. Austrian know-how was employed for the collectors and the hydraulic engineering: the solar collectors for this project come from the Carinthian manufacturer GREENoneTEC, and experts from the research institute AEE INTEC developed the entire system hydraulics. Both organizations have been researching and developing pioneering energy strategies and technologies for years, partly within national and european funding programs.
The project partners succeeded in making the collectors significantly more efficient and easier to integrate in large collector arrays hydraulically, while adapting collector design to the climatic extremes in this region. The facility is located on the campus of the Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University for women in Riyadh, where it supplies hot water and supports the heating system. The facility is implemented as a central array of collectors on the flat roof of a warehouse with an area of 60,000 m2. At the planning stage it was essential to ensure uniform flow distribution throughout the array, while minimizing pressure drops and simplifying pipework (to keep both costs and heat losses down).